Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series on Kindle

Oh sweet, merciful Crom…..Jerry Ahern’s ‘The Survivalist‘ series is now available for Kindle and other electronic readers. I..I..have no words.

Wait, yes I do.

‘Amazed’, theres a word. I gotta hand it to Ahern…rather than write something new for the contemporary audiences like ,Rawles did (or does, I suppose), he simply re-issues his thirty-year-old pulp series in the new, low-overhead e-reader format. High margins, low effort. Brilliant, actually.Hopefully he’ll make enough money to cover his nut from that Victor Kiam (‘I ‘liked it so much I bought the company’) episode he had with Detonics.

Now, don’t get me wrong…when I was a kid, I devoured this series of ‘mens adventure’. Amazingly, Ahern managed to ride this horse all the way into the nineties. But, when I read it now, while it is still fun it is also way, way, way over the top and a virtual masturbatory extravaganza of gear-porn. (And thats 1980’s-era gear, folks….no .40 S&W, no plastic guns, no computers beyond an Apple II, etc.) His style of writing has become a tongue-in-cheek joke for writers who elaborate on unneccesary detail to provide ‘fan service’ regarding gear and guns. (You could make a drinking game out of looking for ‘Metalifed Python’, ‘A.G. Russel Sting’, ‘Alessi shoulder rig’, and ‘Detonics’. Empty the entire pitcher when he ‘whispers’ something that any other normal person would say in a regular talking voice.)

Still, this series is a guilty pleasure for me. A buddy of mine has the complete series in paperback. He spent a good bit of time and coin running ‘em all down on eBay. I’m tempted to buy the series and dump it into my phone or iPad just for fun.I remember reading these books when I was 13 and I would be lying if I said these didn’t have some influence on myinterest in preparedness. If you’ve never read the series before, it’s fairly straightforward (for the first nine books or so) – the main character is an ubersurvivalist, surgeon, ex-CIA guy, and all-around ubermensch with the perfect bunker. When WW3 breaks out he’s caught away from home and has to find his way back and reunite his family while fighting Russians, looters, ‘brigands’, rogue military, and all sortsa direct-from-casting post-apocalyptic archetypes. Throw in a few colorful supporting characters and you have your ensemble cast ready for action. Once the post-WW3 plotline started to get repetitive a twist was added in…the world really does come to an end, but thanks to a secret government program our heroes cryogenically doze through it and awake 500 years in the future to start the world over. Hijinks ensue.

I know, I know..it sounds like I’m really down on this series and in some ways I am but it was really a lot of fun and it brings back a huge amount of nostalgia for me.

As an aside, let me throw out a pet peeve. In much later books, Chinese-made copies of the Glock turn up. However, the first ‘Survivalist’ book takes place right around the actual time the book was published – 1981. Gaston Glock didn’t even have a prototype until 1982….a year after the nukes fly in this book. So, the likelihood of the Glock ever having been made in this ‘Ahernverse’ are pretty slim. But, hey, they’re still a lot of fun to read. Cheesey and campy, in my opinion, but back in the day it was cutting edge survivalist literature….

As I said, I make fun of it but it was really a fun and entertaining read. I recommend it for it’s novelty and entertainment value as well as for a bit of history…back in the early ’80s this is what we thought the end of the world was going to look like – a big nukefest between the Soviets and US. What a difference 30 years makes.

10 thoughts on “Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series on Kindle

  1. I read a few of those on the kindle while deployed. At about $10 they were a terrible value but I was pretty bored and had some gift cards lying around.

    (You could make a drinking game out of looking for ‘Metalifed Python’, ‘A.G. Russel Sting’, ‘Alessi shoulder rig’, and ‘Detonics’. Empty the entire pitcher when he ‘whispers’ something that any other normal person would say in a regular talking voice.) My friend and I tried to make Lonesome Dove into a drinking game once, things got ugly fast.

    You forgot to mention that it is a 6″ MAGNA PORTED metalified Cold Python in a Ranger flap holster. I think his books would be about 80 pages long if you cut out all the repetitive gear mentioning. I can only hope he got a cent for every time he mentioned those buzz words or something.

    Well, he did wind up owning Detonics…….

  2. Looks like it’s $8 for each book, he’ll be making a killing at that rate if people are willing to spend it….

    He’s gonna do fine….the old paperbacks (esp. the early ones) were doing quite well on eBay.

  3. If your wives ever find out that you read that stuff, even in your early teens, the gig could be up. “No mo preppin’ for you.”


    Then, obviously, the wrong women were chosen for wives.

  4. I have a couple of friends from back in HS that every year we ask each other for “Twin stainless Detonics .45’s in a double Alesi shoulder rig” for christmas every year. Still haven’t gotten them though… These things are a BLAST in audio form from “Graphic Audio”. Was doing quite a bit of traveling a few years ago so I wound up picking one of these or “Deathlands” up every trip. They use a lot of the same actors but they sure do make long trips entertaining! Oh well, maybe I can still find a battered Browning Hi-power.

  5. I read all those books when just a young 30 something. Another series of books that were strange, to say the least, was about another survivalist, the Roman Centurian who plunged his spear and slay the Christ on Golgotha. The Lord told him that he couldn’t die and would forever be mercenary. Odd premis but entertaining.

  6. I waited until I was 60, last year, to read the whole series. I had to search high and low, but I have the full set now.

    I enjoyed the series. Reading some of the sm stirling series since I saw it mentioned here. Differnet venue, but similar type read.

    I sure hate to break up an entire set of The Survivalist, but probably the only way to get rid of them.


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